Home Depot Workers Compensation – Fines for Inadequate Foot Protection
Foot injuries caused by being hit or run over by industrial trucks are the single leading cause of serious foot injuries or amputations among California workers. Foot injuries are also among the most frequent type of Workers Compensation claim, especially in the construction, landscaping, warehousing/distribution, and retail industries.
The experienced workers compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green have represented hundreds of workers compensation clients with foot injuries. Some of these injuries include toe, ankle and foot fractures, ruptured Achilles tendon, tendonitis, foot and ankle sprains, heel pain and injuries, crush injuries and lacerations.
Employers Duty to Protect Workers from Foot Injury
Over the last five years, Cal/OSHA reports that it opened over 70 investigations involving employees who work at retail stores specializing in home repair and home improvement. Because of the nature of the work, employees are required to lift and carry heavy items, and work with industrial equipment such as pallet jacks, lifts and various industrial vehicles.
The State of California has consistently placed requirements on companies to ensure the safety of their employees. In a recent workers compensation case involving a foot injury, not only Cal/OSHA, but the Superior Court and subsequently, the Court of Appeals affirmed the employer’s responsibility to ensure their employees are adequately protected.
The Home Depot Workers Compensation Case
One such retail chain has been the subject of several investigations and lawsuits. The Fourth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed the Superior Court’s ruling that Cal/OSHA had properly issued citations to Home Depot for violating safety standards.
In April 2015, Cal/OSHA issued citations to Home Depot following their investigation of an accident where a Mira Loma employee’s foot was crushed between two pallet jacks. In the course of the investigation, Cal/OSHA determined that employees located at the warehouse, which functions as a distribution center for retail stores, were routinely exposed to elevated risk because many wore sneakers. In fact, there was no requirement for employees to wear protective footwear. Furthermore, the Cal/OSHA investigators identified other safety violations, including violations issued due to the unsafe operation of industrial trucks.
Although Home Depot filed an appeal, the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (OSHAB) upheld the citations, determining that employees were indeed at risk of injury whenever they manually lifted loads or worked in close proximity to industrial trucks. The OSHAB ruled that Home Depot’s stated lifting safety policy and the fact that they did not allow open-toed or open heeled shoes did not go far enough in terms of protecting their employees from sustaining serious foot injuries.
After the OSHAB issued its decision, Home Depot filed a writ of mandate in the Superior Court requesting relief from the citation. The writ was denied. At that point, Home Depot filed an appeal with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal. On October 17, the 4th Circuit denied the appeal, and upheld Cal/OSHA’s issuance of citations against Home Depot.
Cal/OSHA was pleased with the results of the appeal, feeling that it sends a strong message to companies regarding their responsibility to protect their workers. According to Cal/OSHA, there have been several investigations into the warehousing industry prompted by reports of serious foot injuries caused by forklifts and rider pallet jacks. Had protective footwear been a requirement, many of these injuries could have been prevented.
Workers Compensation – Home Depot – Foot Injury
Foot, ankle, and knee injuries are very common in the workplace. Falling, getting cut, or dropping items can all cause injuries to the foot, ankle or knees. Additionally, cumulative injuries, those that happen over a longer period of time, may develop as a result of performing routine yet repetitive tasks such as lifting or operating machinery.
The aggressive and experienced Workers Compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green will fight hard for your rights. Of course, the most important thing is for you to get the proper medical treatment as quickly as possible. But there is a lot more to the way we represent our clients. Cantrell Green attorneys understand the workers compensation system and the process, and will work with you and your doctors to be sure you receive the best outcome possible.
If you have been injured on the job, give the attorneys at Cantrell Green a call and set up an appointment. They will ensure that you receive the financial compensation and other benefits available to you under California workers compensation law.
Call our Workers Compensation attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047